Tour This Artist's Mesmerizing Oaxacan Escape

Architectural Digest

November 5, 2020

Bosco Sodi understands the virtue of patience. For his best-known paintings, the artist slathers canvases laid flat with a heavy mixture of pigment, wood, glue, and natural fibers—engaging in an intensely physical and intuitive process, alone, for hours on end. Weeks or months then go by as that slurry dries into distinctive topographies, each work cracking at the whims of weather conditions, revealing unpredictable nuances of place. “Things become beautiful the more time passes,” says Sodi. “I want to work with the elements, not against them.”

That was the idea behind his family’s new house in Puerto Escondido, a surfing hot spot on the Pacific coast of Mexico. Completed last year according to Sodi’s own designs, the beachfront home combines concrete, clay, and timber into a series of open-air palapas, the surfaces of which will weather with each salty breeze. Traditional Oaxacan thatched roofs offer shade from the harsh tropical sun, floor-to-ceiling openings frame ocean views, and walls of stucco and brick reveal the mark of local artisans. There’s no air-conditioning—just ceiling fans—and only spotty internet. Outside, a pool extends dramatically toward the waves, reflecting every sunset, every day gone by.

A New Lens On AlUla: Through The Eyes of Robert Polidori

Harper's Bazaar Arabia

November 4, 2020

Saudi’s first-ever UNESCO World Heritage Site, it was only a matter of time before it was captured by some of the world’s most talented photographers; in this instance, the award-winning Robert Polidori, who spent 10 days discovering the ancient city to complete a new book for luxury publishers, Assouline. The beautiful new tome also features hyper-real illustrations by Gucci-approved Ignasi Monreal, perfectly showcasing the dream-like nature of the place.

What caught your eye when you first landed in AlUla?

The fantastic erosion patterns in the limestone rock formations. The entire region seems to have been sculpted by one of nature’s master artists. Only two world cultural sites are really comparable – AlUla and Petra – and they stand alone in their own unique ways.

The estate of George Rickey, who created balletic kinetic sculptures, now at Kasmin gallery

The Art Newspaper

November 2, 2020

The estate and foundation of George Rickey, whose kinetic steel sculptures combine technological innovation with balletic choreography of geometric forms, are now being represented exclusively worldwide by Kasmin gallery. Next fall, in tandem with displaying three of Rickey's works on its rooftop sculpture garden prominently visible from the High Line, the Chelsea gallery will help sponsor an exhibition uptown on Park Avenue of nine monumental pieces spanning the artist's mature work from the early 1960s to just before his death in 2002 at age 95.

“The outdoor sculptures have a wonderful receptiveness to light and local climate conditions and particularly along the High Line and Park Avenue—these thoroughfares in the city that are also about movement and constant changing perspectives—it will be a really nice dialogue,” says Nick Olney, Kasmin’s director. It will be the largest show of Rickey's work in New York since his 1979 retrospective at the Guggenheim, which included works poised on the roof and at street level.

The mischievous and mysterious art of J.B. Blunk

Apollo Magazine

October 30, 2020

The date is not recorded with absolute certainty, but one day in the early 1950s, a young American soldier stationed in Korea named J.B. Blunk paid a visit to a craft store in Tokyo when Isamu Noguchi and his wife, Yamaguchi Yoshiko, happened to be present and they got to talking. Blunk had become obsessed with ceramics while studying art at UCLA, and his knowledge was soon to deepen. ‘It was one of those meetings that change your life,’ Blunk told an interviewer nearly 30 years later. ‘Everything that happens after that can relate back.’ Noguchi introduced him to the master potter Kitaoji Rosanjin, and Blunk apprenticed with him before moving on to Toyo Kaneshige. Blunk stayed in touch with Noguchi, telling that interviewer that he ‘was much more aware of where I was going, of my search as an artist, than I was’.

Such humility belies the extraordinary character of that search. Returning to the United States in 1954 and soon settling in sylvan Inverness, California, Blunk fired charismatic ceramics and, probably most famously, carved furniture and abstract wood sculptures that are both graceful and mischievous.

California Artist JB Blunk's Posthumous Second Act


October 30, 2020

At a moment in time when our collective culture is returning to nature to retreat and take cover from the pandemic, a resurfacing of artist JB Blunk’s prolific work feels fitting. The late artist, whose work enjoys a cult-like following in his native Northern California, never sought the spotlight, preferring to focus on making rather than promoting. Now, he is finally getting his due with his first-ever exhibition on the east coast, at Kasmin Gallery in New York.

Blunk, whose practice is seamlessly spread across a multitude of media—from ceramic and wood to stone and clay; from jewelry and sculpture to paintings and furniture—lived and worked off the grid in a home he built entirely by hand upon a hill in Inverness, California, a small enclave just north of San Francisco. After beginning his practice in Japan, where he studied ceramics, encouraged by lifelong friend Isamu Noguchi, Blunk returned to California and began experimenting with wood, and later stone.

Bosco Sodi on Minimalism, imperfection, and the emotive power of art


October 29, 2020

Bosco Sodi’s painting studio is set in a mid-19th-century warehouse in Red Hook, Brooklyn, a long, cavernous space with austere stone walls, exposed ceiling beams, and towering doors that open onto the waterfront. With its impressive proportions, it could comfortably accommodate a small army of technicians and assistants. Indeed, given the scale of Sodi’s work (the titular painting for his 2010 show ‘Pangaea’, at the Bronx Museum, measured 400 x 1,200 cm), one imagines a similarly sizable studio team. Yet Sodi prefers to work by himself, relying on an assistant only for the most physically demanding tasks.

‘I prefer to have nobody here. Painting is a very intimate process, so I don’t like having my concentration broken,’ he says.

Connected to Place

DesignMiami/ TheForum/

October 28, 2020

This month, New York's Kasmin Gallery opened its first exhibition dedicated to the work of JB Blunk (1926–2002), a pioneering wood and ceramic artist who left an indelible imprint on the culture of making in America. To mark the occasion, we reached out to Blunk's daughter, Director of the JB Blunk Collection, Mariah Nielson, to consider this “California Craftsman” through the lens of this year's Design Miami/ Podium's theme, America(s).

Read on to discover Nielson's thoughts on the role that her father's sense of place played in his practice and how the legacy of his ecological sensitivity continues to inspire others today.

JB Blunk: A capsule retrospective of the renowned sculptor’s discipline-defying oeuvre.

The Design Edit

October 26, 2020

“I BEGAN MAKING wood sculpture in 1962,” said JB Blunk, “I knew how to use a chainsaw and it was one of those things – one day you just start.” A plain-spoken, hardworking Midwesterner with a mastery of wood and ceramics, Blunk was renowned for his dexterous translation of different forms from one medium to another. It was his respect for and uncompromising adherence to nature that informed his process and shaped his idiosyncratic approach. Whether a functional table or an abstract totem, all of JB Blunk’s meticulously sculpted works championed the intrinsic properties of materials.

Worlds Within Worlds

The Wall Street Journal

October 23, 2020

As a boy in Tehran in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq War, Ali Banisadr had a friend whose apartment building was sliced neatly in half by a bomb, revealing a cross-section of its interior. From the street, he could see the room where he had played, complete with wallpaper and children’s toys.

Born in 1976, Mr. Banisadr was 12 years old when his family moved to the U.S., but his tumultuous childhood still fuels his work as an artist. That is clear in his new show, which opened this week at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Conn., and includes a dozen paintings and prints made over the last five years. The references are as current as Covid-19 and the George Floyd protests, but Mr. Banisadr’s work is also rooted in art history. He often evokes the world of Hieronymus Bosch, creating large canvases thickly populated with creatures that are mixtures of human, animal and robot. The work of Bosch “never stops giving,” says Mr. Banisadr, “He had this way of zooming out and looking at the world from…a macro level,” showing “the folly of humanity in general. I’m in tune with that.”

Ali Banisadr and the art of ‘Visual Thinking’

Global Voices

October 22, 2020

OM: Good music and novels have been two of your sources of inspiration. How have they found a way into your painting?

AB: Music goes inside of my body and it turns into visual worlds. Novels and poetry can also provoke powerful imagery but also create a musical orchestra. Films can have a combination of sounds and imagery, but also movement. They are all a point of reference that comes and goes as I am painting. Since I don't use any references, they sort of become a part of my visual vocabulary to refer to when I am working.

A Beautiful Mess

Centurion Magazine

October 20, 2020

Imperfect, impermanent and incomplete: these are the guiding principles of the Japanese aesthetic wabi-sabi, and they guide the unique creations of Mexican artist Bosco Sodi, whose latest installations have taken up shop at two New York City galleries.

More than twenty hulking balls and cubes built from ruddy Oaxacan clay decorate the gallery floors of Brooklyn’s Pioneer Works. The creation, Sodi’s latest installation Perfect Bodies (until 20 December), is a curious synthetises between minimalism and the contemporary “Land art” movement that highlights the artistic purity and rawness of dirt from the artist’s home studio Casa Wabi in Oaxaca. In the words of the artist himself, it speaks to “silence, contemplation and the passing of time – small things in life and our relationship with earth”.

Editors’ Picks: 22 Events for Your Art Calendar This Week

artnet news

October 12, 2020

“Bosco Sodi: Perfect Bodies” at Perfect Bodies Auto Collision, Brooklyn

If you’re looking for an opportunity to get your art-viewing fix while still enjoying New York’s remaining days of seasonal warmth, chart a course to Red Hook in the next few weekends. There, in a normally unassuming concrete parking lot just two blocks from Pioneer Works (the installation’s presenter), multidisciplinary artist Bosco Sodi has sited an array of soulful spheres fired from the local clay of Oaxaca, where he maintains the Mexican branch of his studio. The work builds on the concerns prevalent in Sodi’s just-opened solo exhibition at Kasmin (on view through November 12): the timelessness of the earth, the synthesis of Minimalism with Land Art, and the progression of art-making from ancient civilizations to contemporary practice.

Pretty Please / Bosco Sodi: Perfect Bodies

Vanity Fair

October 8, 2020

Just as outdoor dining takes over sidewalks, art events are popping up in unclaimed corners. The Mexico-born artist Bosco Sodi’s latest installation—Perfect Bodies, presented by Pioneer Works and curated by the Noguchi Museum’s Dakin Hart—comes to a vacant autobody lot in Brooklyn this weekend, for a three-month run. The show assembles more than twenty hulking forms, all made from the ruddy clay in Oaxaca, where Sodi’s studio is located; by coincidence, the neighborhood where Perfect Bodies takes place—Red Hook—earned its name from a similarly colored ground. The artist describes the work touching on themes of “silence, contemplation, and the passing of time—the small things in life and our relationship with the earth.” Even on asphalt, there’s fertile potential.

Interior Designer Brian McCarthy Curates a Magical Les Lalanne Exhibition at Kasmin

Galerie Magazine

September 18, 2020

Visiting the new exhibition on the work of Les Lalanne, which recently opened at Kasmin gallery on Tenth Avenue in New York, is like stepping into another world. Not just because it’s been months since many have walked into a Chelsea gallery, but also because of the thoughtful curation executed by interior designer Brian McCarthy. Far from the typical white-cube experience, McCarthy has conjured a forest of green walls in which to display a selection of 20 surreal sculptures and furnishings by the legendary French artists Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne, who lived and worked together for some five decades.

“This show is everything that everyone needs right now,” McCarthy tells Galerie. “You walk in and feel like you’re in a bear hug.” That feeling of warmth and happiness comes from the design and the whimsical, imaginative flora- and fauna-driven artworks, each of which is perched on its own special pedestal at varying heights. “Coming out of this surrealist moment in time, they created their own habitat and environment.”

The First Major Posthumous Show of Les Lalanne Is Here

AD Pro

September 10, 2020

Ask AD100 designer Brian J. McCarthy about the work of Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne, and his sentences speed up with excitement. “The many times that I went to the workshops in their house, it always struck me as being like Noah’s Ark,” McCarthy says. “There was something so wonderfully alive about the experience.” Aesthetes can’t get enough of the surreal works of Les Lalanne, known for their otherworldly nature-inspired sculptures that tread the line between art and design. Though their oeuvre is expansive—from Claude’s mirrors dripping in gilded flora to François-Xavier’s multipurpose bronze monkeys—each piece is imbued with a quintessential playful spirit.

Chip off the block – lessons from my father, JB Blunk

Financial Times

September 10, 2020

I can still remember the smell of my father’s studio. A mix of freshly cut wood, sawdust and varnish. It was a warm, dusty, pungent scent that emanated from his sculptures and, at the end of the day, his work clothes. The smell would waft out of the open doors of his studio and envelop me like a strong hug when I stepped inside. 

My father is the late sculptor JB Blunk, best known for his large-scale redwood installations such as The Planet (1969) at the Oakland Museum of California. But before he started working with wood in the early 1960s, ceramics were his focus. When he was drafted into the Korean War in 1949, he saw it as an opportunity to visit Japan and meet the revered studio potter Shoji Hamada. There, a chance encounter with the artist Isamu Noguchi led to apprenticeships with the distinguished potters Kitaoji Rosanjin and Kaneshige Toyo – experiences that deeply influenced his work and way of life. 

Misogyny and making art in the shadow of Jackson Pollock—how Lee Krasner was shut out of art history

The Art Newspaper

August 24, 2020

The rehabilitation of the late US artist Lee Krasner (1908-84) continues apace with the publication of a new long-form essay by the art critic and poet Carter Ratcliff titled Lee Krasner: The Unacknowledged Equal. The new research, published by the New York-based Pollock-Krasner Foundation, provides insights into the evolution of Krasner’s work and relationship with her husband Jackson Pollock—“definitively bringing her out of Pollock’s shadow”, according to a foundation statement.

Three exhibitions to see in New York, London and online this weekend

The Art Newspaper

July 30, 2019

William N. Copley: The New York Years at Kasmin in New York features work from the era following the American Surrealist’s return to the city in 1963 after more than a decade as an expatriate in Paris. The paintings are full of American pathos: their content is said to spring from Copley’s repressive American childhood, and such an observation requires little digging for evidence. His humorous broaching of sexuality, religion and consumerism are delightfully ham-fisted, with a willingness to ladle muffled imagery out of the American subconscious and onto the canvas.

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